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Bali: All the Traffic and the Chance of the First Railway to the Rescue!

Bali: All the Traffic and the Chance of the First Railway to the Rescue!

Bali has been struggling with the issue of traffic congestions at different levels for quite a while now, and it has been exhausting.

When talking about the ‘horror stories’ related to the island’s traffic, we are mainly talking about the south part of Bali; the urban area of the island and all the surrounding areas that have become kind of become part of the urban area as the island develops. Yet this problem also applies to the intercity roads, making travel around the island rather tiring at times.

Traffic jams can happen anywhere on any busy street in the south or intercity roads, and rush hours; they don’t actually refer to 8 am – 5 or 6 pm like it probably does where you come from. These daily road dramas can happen at any time, really. So, surprise…surprise!

In many cases, at some point, after probably having whispered your mantra of “inner peace, inner peace, inner peace”, you might just find that your level of acceptance towards the road drama has hit the advanced level, and you notice that you have become more grateful for the little traffic-related-blessings, like hitting all green lights on your way to work, or actually not having to hit the brakes way to often!

There is just this noticeable imbalance in the ratio of vehicles versus the road capacity on the island, and the other contributing occasional factors such as dragging roadwork that come up quite frequently are not very helpful to the situation either.

On the bright side, in the last half of 2013, the provincial government of Bali had made some significant effort as well as progress related to the troubleshooting of the issue. The Dewa Ruci Underpass and Bali Mandara Toll Road have been proven to help calm down the traffic in the area with an impact on the surrounding areas as well.

Though in the mean time the number of vehicles on the road have increased for sure, it is safe to say that those two additions to the island’s infrastructure which were both something new to the island, have made particular roads no longer that nerve-racking to pass, or let’s say, we’ve seen and been through worse.

In relation to the progress which impact is currently in action, the government is now looking to make more of these facilities to improve the quality of the island’s physical infrastructure, to provide better access for both the island’s residents and over 3 million tourists coming to Bali every year.

National online news portal,, has reported that during a brief meeting with Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika last Friday (11/13/15), the Minister of Transportation, Ignasius Jonan, expressed that the central government is ready to build a rail line in Bali, as long as the provincial government has the required land and space for the project.

Jonan stated that the central government’s budget can cover the development of a Denpasar-Singaraja rail line. However, the current budget will not support the construction of the rail line across the entire island.

The subject about the railway just surfaced last Friday, so understandably there aren’t many details to be revealed at this very initial stage. However, the rail line route is reportedly planned to connect Denpasar-Singaraja as previously stated to be within the budget.

Pastika has reportedly pledged to conduct an immediate feasibility study and expressed his hopes for the realization of the development and for it to bring a positive impact on the society’s welfare.

Now it might take a while before we hop on a train right here on the island! And yes, there are pros and cons to this, like to everything else, and the list might consists of very different subjects to pros and cons too, depending on the perspective and interests of various parties who will be affected by this possible change.

And at this very early stage of this train talk, we have no idea yet on how the results of the feasibility study will look like. But the idea of having a train as an intercity transportation option on the island does sound relieving and exciting! The idea of not having to struggle through traffic is also a total win!

The development of Bali’s first rail line is a potential game-changer in the island’s public transportation scene (as well as traffic scene); of course hoping it will be managed and progressing in the best possible direction. Well, fingers crossed and let’s see how things will develop from here.

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October, 2017
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